"Ashida-Gawa River Eco & Fishing" tournament

A unique local tournament that combines fishing and environmental education

Mr. Kiichiro Nagashiki (Director of JGFA, leader of True Blue Fishing Club) has extensive experience of international cooperation and environmental protection through his work at Junior Chamber International Japan. After he left JC, he still maintained strong commitment in the support of youth education and environmental protection. One of his achievements was to kick off a soccer tournament titled "Yurara Cup." It grew to become the largest football event in the area, with total youth participants over 2,000.

Regarding environmental issues, he felt the needs of launching a campaign with solid roots into the local life of Fukuyama. As often quoted, we have to think globally but act locally. The campaign should target large audience and participants for maximum effect. Simplicity, fun, contribution to local community and environmental protection are all important in designing it.

As the key field, he chose Ashida-Gawa River. It is a first class river that flows close to his hometown. It used to provide the livelihood and fun to the people living on it. However, a dam was built at the river mouth about 30 years ago, the flow became slow and the water quality plummeted. It was often selected as the dirtiest river in the region. Fish disappeared, and so did the anglers and kids playing in the river. The close relationship between forests and sea got gradually severed, ecosystem was damaged, and the area was badly littered.

However, bass fishers didn't give up. Mr. Nagashiki initially thought, “How could they fish in such polluted setting?” But he then found that it was the only area with reasonably good access, especially for younger generation.

He thought, "We should give younger generation better river environment," but he soon discovered it was erroneous thinking. He had to involve younger generation to make it better. The simplest thing to do, as the first step, was to pick up garbage along the river. This was how "Ashida-Gawa Eco & Fishing" tournament was born.

Although it is a fishing tournament, it also has a "clean-up" category, so non-fishers can also participate. Anglers are all requested to collect some garbage before weigh-in. For those who cannot seem to score much in the fishing division can re-entry in the clean-up division. It proved to be a great design, and most of the anglers, after the morning bite is over, shift to "clean-up" division. In the first tournament, the collected garbage was enough to fill seven garbage trucks.

The initial success led to the improvement in environmental awareness, and many volunteers showed up periodically for river cleaning-up. Consequently, the garbage collected during the 6th "Ashida-Gawa Eco & Fishing" was barely enough to fill one truck. Tournament management also matured; many local anglers now take part in as the helping hands, and the tournament is now recognized as a civic event. Angling manners also improved. The number of tournament participants is typically between 120 and 300, to make it one of the largest fishing tournaments in Fukuyama Region.
Garbage gets sorted by staff.
A broken moped was brought in.
"I picked up a lot of garbage, though I didn't catch any fish!"
Boys dominate in the "Clean-Up Division."